Hall Of Fame Tip-Off Classic: USC Snaps Two-Game Losing Streak With Win Over New Mexico State

The Trojans have won five of the six meetings against New Mexico State.

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Hall Of Fame Tip-Off Classic: USC Beats New Mexico State, 80-61

Springfield, MA (Sports Network) - Bryce Jones scored a game-high 21 points, leading the USC Trojans to an 80-61 win over the New Mexico State Aggies as part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. Also scoring in double figures for the Trojans (3-2) were Nikola Vucevic with 19 points, followed by Marcus Simmons and Garrett Jackson with 12 and 10 points, respectively, as they snapped a two-game slide.

The Aggies (2-3), losers of three in a row after opening the season with back- to-back victories, were led by Christian Kabongo with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while reserves Gordo Castillo and Tshilidzi Nephawe each posted 13 points in the setback. USC, while hitting an even 50 percent from the floor in the first half, held NMSU to just 31.3 percent, allowing the Trojans to claim a 40-28 advantage at the break.

In the second half USC again made good on 50 percent from the field to cruise to the 19-point triumph. The Trojans shot a solid 7-of-17 (.412) behind the three-point line and also forced the Aggies into 18 turnovers on the afternoon. USC next plays on Wednesday, hosting Cal State Fullerton at the Galen Center.

For more information on USC hoops, check out the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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USC Vs. New Mexico State: Probable Starting Lineups

The USC Trojans look to snap a two-game losing streak today against the New Mexico State Aggies in a matchup at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Trojans (2-2) lost Saturday in excruciating fashion, as they fouled on a three-point attempt up two with one second left. Sam Maniscalco hit all three free throws, giving the Bradley Braves the 64-63 win over USC.

New Mexico State is also 2-2 on the young season, and lost yesterday to UMass, 71-57. The Aggies other loss this season was an 83-57 defeat at Pac-10 foe Arizona. Their best player, Troy Gillenwater, who is leading the team in both scoring (22.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.3 points per game), will be playing today near his hometown of Boston. Here are the probable starting lineups for both teams:

New Mexico State

USC

  • Guard: Maurice Jones (he has played all 160 minutes this season)
  • Guard: Bryce Jones
  • Guard: Marcus Simmons
  • Forward: Alex Stephenson
  • Forward: Nikola Vucevic (leads Trojans with 18.0 points and 11.8 rebounds per game)

For more information on USC hoops, check out the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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USC Vs. New Mexico State: Trojans Basketball Look To Snap Two-Game Losing Streak

(Sports Network) - In a battle at the MassMutual Center, the USC Trojans will collide with the New Mexico State Aggies as part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. The Trojans have won four of the five meetings against New Mexico State, and that includes a 73-60 decision back in 2008. This event has not been kind to the Trojans, who have lost both of their matchups in this tournament. After opening the year with two wins, USC was crushed by Rider, 77-57, and followed that loss with a 64-63 setback to Bradley.

The Aggies' season has played out very similar to USC's, as New Mexico State began its year with two wins, only to fall into a two-game slide directly afterwards. The most recent setback was a 71-57 loss to UMass, and that loss came two days after Arizona crushed the Aggies, 83-57, in Tucson. After this matchup NMSU will head to El Paso to battle UTEP.

The Trojans jumped out to an early lead against Bradley on Saturday, but the offense ran cold down the stretch, allowing the Braves to fight back, and eventually win the game in the final seconds. A big reason for the poor showing was due to the ineffectiveness of Maurice Jones. Jones entered the game as the team's top scoring threat, but that changed after the guard missed all 10 of his shots, finishing the game scoreless. Because of that miserable outing, Nikola Vucevic now leads the team and comes into this contest averaging a double-double of 18.0 ppg and 10.5 rpg. Against Bradley the forward tallied 22 points, to go along with 10 boards and five assists. Bryce Jones, who is netting 11.7 ppg, contributed 13 points, while Donte Smith and Garrett Jackson chipped in 12 points apiece off the bench.

The Aggies scored over 90 points in their first two games of the season, but since then the team has fallen into a deep funk offensively, netting 57 points in its last two losses to Arizona and UMass. In the 14-point setback to the Minutemen, New Mexico State shot a woeful 33.3 percent from the floor and made just 3-of-12 three-point attempts. Troy Gillenwater was clearly not at his best, netting just 4-of-15 shots, but the forward still finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. Gillenwater has been the top option for NMSU this season and comes into this matchup netting 22.3 ppg, while collecting 7.3 rpg. Hamidu Rahman tallied 10 points in the loss, while Hernst Laroche was limited to just eight points. Despite the poor showing however, Laroche is still second on the team with 12.0 ppg.

Both teams are stuck in a slump offensively, so it will be interesting to see what team is able to wake up and bounce back into the win column. USC should get the nod in this matchup, because it is unlikely Jones will be held scoreless again.

FACTS & STATS: Site: MassMutual Center (7,283) -- Springfield, Massachusetts. Television: FCS. Home Record: USC 2-1, NMSU 1-0. Away Record: USC 0-0, NMSU 1-1. Neutral Record: USC 0-1, NMSU 0-1. Conference Record: USC 0-0, NMSU 0-0. Series Record: USC leads, 4-1.

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